This question is posed to everyone, whether you’re an expat coming back home, an experienced Hawaii visitor, or a newcomer, a.k.a. “malahini”.
Being a lifetime Kama’aina (resident) myself, here’s my list of suggestions for you on the island of Oahu:
- Hawaiian food – Highway Inn, Helena’s, Ono’s, Young’s, People’s Cafe
- Plate lunch – Zippy’s, Richie’s Drive In, Rainbow Drive-In
- Manapua – Libby’s, Char Hung Sut, Chun Wah Kam
- Okazuya – Toshi’s, Gulick Delicatessen, Matsumoto’s, Mitsuba, Mitsuken, Nuuanu, Fukuya, St. Louis Delicatessen
- Poke – Ono Seafood, Tanioka’s
- Local comfort food – Oxtail Soup (Pho Bistro 2, Asahi Grill or The Alley), Saimin (Zippy’s Zip Min or Palace Saimin)
- Store or open market – Yataimura Food Court @ Shirokiya, KCC Farmers Market
- Anykine local grinds – Alicia’s Market, Marujyu Market, Masa & Joyce
- Fine dining- Alan Wong’s, Roy’s (preferably Hawaii Kai)
- Bakery- Kamehameha, Liliha, Leonard’s
- Shave Ice – Shimazu, Waiola, Matsumoto
- Wherever you grew up eating at in your home town (for me that would be Kin Wah Chop Suey in Kaneohe)
- Who wants to eat? Hit the beach or sit by the pool sippin’ on Mai Tais all day long!
Stress, this must be your FIRST DAY in Hawaii, as one of those I MUST EAT THIS FIRST deals!
Rainbow Drive-In Teriyaki Beef Plate Lunch (“Teri’ Plate”)
Ono Seafood made-to-order Ahi Poke